"Awake in the Dream" a solo exhibition @LAX Terminal 7 Art Gallery will run from now to Aug. 2024
Chenhung Chen’s solo exhibition, Awake in the Dream, explores exchanges between natural phenomena and the built environment, through experimentation with mixed-media drawings and sculptural works made from found and ready-made materials. Chen draws from her experience of living in metropolitan cities for most of her life, which has led her to believe that nature’s role is not to entertain or inspire us; rather, nature has its own purpose, and it is up to us to discover it.
Chen’s observations led her to her own cultural systems of belief. The title of her exhibition refers to the 13th century Persian poet Rumi, who wrote, “Awake, asleep ought to be with us—so he may see dreams in wakefulness.” Chen’s work examines the idea of discovery through her upbringing in Taiwanese society where Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism beliefs harmoniously fused together, principles which ultimately shaped her contemporary Taiwanese American identity.
This exhibition features Chen’s mixed-media drawings, including her series of “staple drawings,” wall-mounted reliefs, and a site-specific installation. Together, the works present a confluence of philosophical concepts, aesthetic vision, materials, and craft. For her sculptural works, Chen repurposed wire and electrical conduit, weaving, binding, and crocheting the elements as a symbolic representation of “Chi,” the Taoist concept of the life force that flows through all of us. Chen’s “staple drawings” use an everyday object to express movement, repetition, and linearity. While the act of stapling usually has a utilitarian purpose, Chen’s repetitive stapling motion becomes almost a form of meditation. The artist’s process-oriented practices aim to find poetic essence in daily interaction with materials and nature.
Rooted in the belief of the universal nature of human beings and drawing from her connections with the urban environment and ancient craft traditions, Chen’s works negotiate spaces of cultural, environmental, psychological, and temporal change. By using an array of commonplace objects, Chen’s art seeks to discover the link between one’s personal narrative and our collective humanity.
Chenhung Chen is a Los Angeles-based contemporary artist whose mixed-media drawings, reliefs, sculptures, and installations navigate modernity through her transforming of found industrial materials. Her artwork has been exhibited across the United States and internationally, including PS1 Long Island City, NY; Hwa Kang Museum, Taipei, Taiwan; and Lancaster Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA.